Innova predicts greater opportunities for functional nutrition

Even prior to COVID-19, the company says, consumers were taking a more holistic approach to health, focusing on nutrition to boost the body’s resilience

Research by Innova Market Insights has revealed increased opportunity for functional nutrition product launches for 2021 and beyond.

Even prior to COVID-19, the company says, consumers were taking a more holistic approach to health, focusing on nutrition to boost the body’s resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. The impact of the pandemic brought health needs even more to the fore. This has reportedly included choosing functional food and beverages, as well as maintaining or increasing exercise, protecting the body from health threats and using more self-care products at home as access to shops and services was restricted.

An average 71% of respondents in Innova’s 2020 Health & Nutrition Survey agreed it’s important or very important to choose food and drink products that positively boost nutrition or benefit how the body functions.

Consumers from different generations and different parts of the world are invested in their own personalised nutrition, the research firm discovered, with varying needs, motivations and behavior driving interest in specific functional benefits. Under 35s tend to focus more on physical appearance and performance, while the older groups, particularly those aged 56 and above, are more interested in targeted or age-specific health benefits.

According to Innova Market Insights, future directions for product development will be influenced by consumers seeking foods and beverages that improve health, providing opportunities for products carrying multiple health claims.

The additional benefits of a healthy gut, beyond the more established areas of digestion and immunity, continue to be explored. For example, there is rising evidence about the gut-skin axis and how reducing sugary and fatty diets can help tackle skin and joint inflammation. Similarly, there is increasing evidence suggesting good bacteria in the gut can prompt improvements in mental health.

Consumers have also reportedly become more interested in the way that food and beverages can contribute to their mood and mental state. This has seen rising use of mood-related claims for new products, particularly those highlighting brain function, focus and concentration, often linked to the inclusion of adaptogens such as CBD.

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